Category Archives: Unexpected

My Awesome, Surprising, and Slightly Frustrating Hearing Test Results

So for the past several years (or maybe forever, and I’ve started noticing it more in the past few years?), I have wondered if I was beginning to lose my hearing. The main problem for me is that whenever there is any background noise or distraction, I have a really hard time picking out the voice of any one person speaking (especially if there are other conversations going on in the same room at the same time). I feel like I have to ask people to repeat themselves quite often. I also have a family history of early hearing loss (not my parents, but other relatives), so I decided that getting my hearing checked would probably be a good idea.

The results of my hearing test showed that my hearing is actually pretty good. It’s definitely within “normal” range. So, on one hand, that is a huge relief and I’m very, very grateful, since 1) I like hearing things, and 2) I don’t have to deal with obtaining, paying for, and adjusting to hearing aids. But, on the other hand, I still have the same problem of not being able to hear as well as I would like to, especially in group settings where there is a lot of background noise. For years, I have been paying extra-close attention to the listening habits and behaviors of others in such situations so I can compare them with my own, and because of this, I know that I do have to work harder than most people in noisy social situations to be able to hear. I lean in more, I watch people’s lips more, I turn an ear toward a speaker’s mouth more, and I ask people to repeat themselves more often than other people around me seem to have to do in the same setting.

The audiologist suggested that, since I have normal hearing, it’s not so much a hearing issue for me as it is an auditory “sensory processing” issue, which (I guess) means that my brain just doesn’t really know how to deal with auditory input from various sources at the same time. It’s not that I can’t hear things, but rather that I am extra-sensitive to noise and hear too many things too well at the same time and have trouble mentally blocking one thing (or things) out in favor of another. One other thing that the doctor noted about my test results is that noise becomes uncomfortable for me at a lower sound level than for most people.

So, overall, I am glad I was tested, and I am happy that I’m not losing my hearing, but I am a little confused about where to go from here.



Guess What You Can’t Buy in Stores Any More?

As part of an effort to withdraw somewhat from the fast-paced online world and not rely so much on modern technology, which I am becoming convinced has almost as many drawbacks as advantages, I decided to buy some stationery, so I can write some real, old-fashioned, snail-mail letters. What I wanted was a set of some pretty 6×8″ paper and envelopes.

First, I went to two craft stores. Neither had ANY letter-writing stationery. Next, I tried Hallmark. HALLMARK. You’d think they would have a great selection, right? They had only two stationery sets, and I didn’t like either one of them. One was just ugly, and the other was black-and-white. It didn’t look horrible, but it wasn’t pretty, either. Then, I went to World Market. Nothing. Next, I tried the dollar store. Nothing. Target also had absolutely nothing. Walmart had ONE set of letter paper and envelopes, but it was the exact same black-and-white one I saw at Hallmark.

So, after going to seven stores, I am empty handed. I had no clue it would be such a challenge to find pretty paper on which to write letters. I used to buy it all the time in high school, when I used to write a lot of letters. Even a few years ago, I found some without much effort, but that batch is finally gone.

I guess I will look online. Sigh.

Update: I bought this set, but from Amazon, since I can get free shipping there. Nice to know somebody still makes letter-writing paper!